Discipleship Through Your 'Joshua Moments'
~By: Sylvia Reynolds-Blakely~
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 KJV
Waiting is not a strong suit of mine. I even finish people’s sentences while they are still talking. To say that I am impatient might be the understatement of the millennium. I think if I am ready for something to happen, then everyone else should be ready as well. To be on time is to be late in my humble opinion. I never trusted the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait.” Why not just go out and make it happen, because life is short, oh so short! After all, what does waiting produce but frustration, which breeds inaction, which means nothing gets done in a timely manner. Looking at it from a different perspective, if God has made me a promise, then surely He means to make it come true shortly. Right? Of course, this is ‘flesh on fire’ talking. We burn for our desires. What we want we want NOW, and we are breathless to attain it. Why is it that our sovereign Lord sees fit to seemingly torture us with a waiting period? It’s like waiting for a letter when an email would get the message across so much quicker. Here’s the problem with rushing: Who among us hasn’t sent an email with an egregious error that we regretted the minute we hit ‘send’? In contrast, that snail mail letter was probably rewritten to perfection before we affixed that expensive stamp. In the technology world, the philosophy is, ‘work fast, break stuff, innovate.’ But then, how many updates to the software are needed to debug the rushed out product? Maturity teaches us that God’s ways are not our ways, and His timing is perfection.
Let’s take a look at a servant of the Lord who patiently waited for his time to shine. Joshua, wholehearted servant of God (Numbers 32:12), was an understudy of Moses from his youth (Numbers 11:28). He fulfilled his role as faithful servant (Exodus 25:13-14; Numbers 26:65), successful warrior (Exodus 17:13), helper (Exodus 24:13), role model (Numbers 32:12), recorder (Exodus 17:14; Numbers 32:28-30), counselor/protector (Numbers 11:28-29), land agent (Numbers 34:17), commander (Exodus 17:9), truth telling spy (Numbers 14:6-9), and, finally, torchbearer (Joshua 1:1-3), all the while trusting that the roles he played would be useful for whatever future God had planned for him. Was there a time when Joshua acted impatiently or rashly? Did he jump ahead or take leadership before his appointed time? Not that I’ve found. Every challenge was a foundational stone laid for young, and then later mature, Joshua. He was even willing to assume another moniker when his spiritual father Moses changed his name from Hoshea (‘salvation’) to Joshua (‘Yahweh is salvation’)--possibly done to remind the future leader that the power he was to wield would not be his own but the Lord’s! When Joshua was finally commissioned to become the leader of Israel (Numbers 27:16-23), he was reminded four times to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6-7,9,18). Why such a strong and forceful reminder for a man groomed to be the next leader practically his whole life; one who was acknowledged as having the spirit of a leader? (Numbers 27:18) As I see it, God wanted to remind Joshua that it takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage to walk into the moment for which you have been waiting and mightily preparing. God knew that Joshua’s ‘Jericho’ moment was yet to come and that what He would ask of Joshua would take tremendous faith, because it had never been done before. He wanted the new leader, who was used to waiting on God, to act on an even stronger faith than he’d had up until that moment. And that level of faith would take God-breathed strength and courage.
So, what are our 'Joshua' take-a-ways?
Know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and doing exactly what you should be doing. Every job, relationship, and encounter is preparing you for your next assignment for God. There is no useless work while Kingdom building.
Make your waiting period a ‘waiting bootcamp.’ Learn active listening skills. Pick the brains of those in the position to which you aspire. Be willing to work without recognition from the ground up. Learn to respect and support righteous leadership.
Hang out with like minded people. Joshua was frequently mentioned with another young man by the name of Caleb who also made it through the exodus and was trusted by Moses. Later, Joshua was frequently mentioned in the same breath as the highly regarded priest Eleazar (Numbers 27:22; 32:28; 34:17). Joshua kept good company!
Know that God’s promises to you will come true and on time. But, you have to be ready for the weight of the new responsibilities. That’s where the strength and courage come in to lean wholly on God through your ‘Joshua moments.’